Everybody knows by now that Blackhawks superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews signed contract extensions earlier this week. Those contracts are both for $84 million over the course of eight seasons starting in 2015. But what bearing do these deals have on the future of the rest of the Blackhawks roster?
Well they do impact the cap implications slightly. The two are still under contract for this season and the only cap issues that the Hawks have are unrelated to the extensions. Starting in 2015 when the deals kick in, some issues may arise. Stan Bowman has been praised many times in the past for his cap management abilities and he has struck gold again. The extensions for the two superstars of the Blackhawks are front-loaded.
Starting in 2019, both players will be making below $10 million (which is below the annual average value of the extension. The deal also includes $44 million in signing bonuses compared to $40 million in salary. Next season the big extension that needs to be done is Brandon Saad. Both Kane and Toews will be making $13.8 million in that season, so some assets may need to be moved in order to lock up Saad for years to come.
The way these deals have been structured by both Bowman and the two stars, it allows Bowman the cap space he needs to make the deals in the future that he is going to have to make while Kane and Toews get their big payday.
And if the cap continues to rise at the start of every season, these deals are going to pay off in years 4-8 as the salaries decrease from $9.8 million to $6.9 million over that time.
The real headache that Bowman and the front office will run into seems to be coming up on the horizon. They need to get the Hawks under the cap this season while also freeing up the cap space next season to be able to re-sign key players and sign guys like Brandon Saad to extensions of their own.
These contracts are great for everyone involved. They keep Kane and Toews in Chicago. They give these two players the payday they deserve. And most importantly, they give Stan Bowman the flexibility and the creativity to add to these two players and keep the Blackhawks in Stanley Cup contention year after year.
There may be times where Bowman has to let go of a fan favorite in order to keep the team under the cap, but that’s a part of hockey. What matters is keeping your stars where they belong and bringing cups back to the city of Chicago.